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28 May, 2024
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U.S. scrambles to reassure allies after Ukraine intel leak

Officials from Europe to the Middle East question Washington about online leak

Senior U.S. officials are scrambling to address concerns and questions from allies in Europe, the Middle East, and Ukraine following the leak of highly classified information about the war in Ukraine and other global issues. The leak, which occurred in early March but was only recently revealed, involved the posting of more than 100 U.S. intelligence documents on the secure messaging app Discord. The documents contained sensitive, classified information about the war in Ukraine, Russian military activity, China, and the Middle East, and some of them appeared to have been assembled into a briefing packet by the Joint Staff's intelligence arm.

In response to the leak, senior intelligence, State Department, and Pentagon officials have reached out to their counterparts in allied countries to quell worries about the publishing of the intel. However, some allies have expressed frustration and confusion over the situation, with members of the Five Eyes intelligence consortium (the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand) reportedly asking for briefings from Washington but receiving no substantive response as of yet. Officials in London, Brussels, Berlin, Dubai, and Kyiv have questioned Washington about how the information ended up online, who was responsible for the leak, and what the U.S. was doing to ensure the information was removed from social media. They have also asked whether the Biden administration is taking steps to limit the distribution of future intelligence.

The leak has raised questions about how Washington will correct what officials worldwide view as one of the largest public breaches of U.S. intelligence since WikiLeaks dumped millions of sensitive documents online from 2006 to 2021. The distress over the leak is particularly problematic because the majority of the documents focus on the war in Ukraine—an effort the U.S. has repeatedly said hinges on collaboration among allies in NATO, Europe, and elsewhere.

[Information from Politico]

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